News for Immediate Release
June 12, 2014
PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Initiate
Study to Determine Feasibility of a Bypass Around Scranton
Pittston – PennDOT and the
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) announced today that as part of a
long-range plan to address congestion in the Interstate 81 corridor, an engineering
study will soon start to determine the feasibility of utilizing a portion of
the turnpike, Interstate 476, as a bypass around Scranton.
“Traffic continues to be a
growing concern in the Scranton area. Thanks to Governor Corbett’s decisive
action to deliver Act 89, we now have the resources necessary to consider this
option to use the turnpike as a relief route for traffic on I-81,” said PennDOT
Secretary Barry J. Schoch.
Turnpike Chief Executive Officer
Mark Compton said the Turnpike and PennDOT are committed to working together to
improve traffic flow in northeastern Pennsylvania.
“This effort is one of numerous
measures the two agencies have embarked on through our ‘Mapping-the-Future’
initiative to increase collaboration, boost efficiency and ultimately enhance
travel across the state,” Compton said. “Our roadway in this area has the
excess capacity to make it an ideal alternate for through traffic to move
around Scranton without relying solely on Interstate 81.”
The study will develop origin and
destination traffic models to gauge potential usage of improved connections, do
a preliminary environmental assessment, and analyze alternatives. New
connections will be needed between Interstates 476 and 81 both north and south
of Scranton to facilitate movement of traffic between the two highways.
State Senator John Blake,
Lackawanna County, described the study as the next logical step to improving
the transportation needs of the area.
“We are very fortunate that the
combined past investments by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and
the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission have established a nearly fully-built
infrastructure to serve growing traffic conditions in the Greater Scranton
Region,” Blake said. “I commend the combined efforts of PennDOT and the
Turnpike Commission to advance studies and plans for the Scranton Beltway
Highlighting the importance of
safety and convenience, State Representative Mike Carroll added, "The
current traffic congestion combined with future additional traffic on I-81
between Pittston and Clarks Summit demands we examine a more convenient way to
use the turnpike by enhancing traffic movements between I-81 and I-476."
State Sen. Lisa Baker, Luzerne
County, noted that the study is a natural progression from Act 89.
“Most of the focus was on
critical, immediate bridge and road repairs and replacements when the
transportation improvement package was approved,” she said. “But there is also
an expectation across our area that there will be larger projects to increase
convenience for motorists and efficiency for shippers and haulers. Better
traffic flow contributes to greater traffic safety. This study is a good
step in that direction.”
Initial estimates indicate that
utilizing the turnpike as a bypass around Scranton could reduce the Average
Daily Traffic on I-81 by 14,000 cars per day.
Media Contact: Rich Kirkpatrick,
717-783-8800; Carl Defebo, 717-939-9551, ext 2934; James May, 570-963-4044